[Honey’s Anime Exclusive Interview] Bisco Hatori at Anime Expo 2019

Urakata-manga-333x500 [Honey’s Anime Exclusive Interview] Bisco Hatori at Anime Expo 2019

Hello Everyone and welcome to Honey’s Anime’s interview with Bisco Hatori. For those who don’t know who Bisco Hatori is, she is the creator of Ouran Highschool Host Club and is also the influencer for many similar works today, which ended up indirectly giving birth to a new genre of manga and anime, Fujoshi!

This was Hatori-san’s first time coming to America let alone Anime Expo. While she may have seemed shy and reserved, after greeting her and getting ready for our interview, she slowly felt comfortable and began to ease her mind. It is a great pleasure that VIZ Media was able to invite Hatori-san to AX 2019 which she kindly accepted. This interview would not have been possible if it weren’t for them so we definitely have to give credit where it is due. For those who aren’t familiar with VIZ Media, they are an American licensing and distribution company that’s been around since 1989, bringing fans many titles of manga and anime overseas like One-Punch Man, Sailor Moon, My Hero Academia, and many, many more.

Hatori-san is a wonderful human being so being able to interview her for the first in America is beyond a privilege. What we’ll be covering here is not only the one-on-one interview we had with Hatori-san but also the Bisco Hatori panel at AX 2019 where Hatori-san also made a special appearance for fans! First, let’s get started with the interview and then we’ll delve into the Bisco Hatori panel to finish things off.

Bisco Hatori

Interview with Bisco Hatori

Hello Hatori-san, how are you? We first wanted to say that it is a great pleasure to have you with us and that it is wonderful you are able to take the time to meet with us.

It is my pleasure. Thank you for coming as well.

From your first work, Millennium Snow to Behind the Scenes!!, what was the one project you created that really resonated with you the most?

For me, and generally with all my works, they have similar themes and relationships amongst each other and ultimately with my experience, the freedom you have with your characters the more connections I have with them. With that, Ouran would definitely be one of those titles and a one-shot manga I had did, which is not published yet in English, called Petite Pêche! (プティトゥ・ペッシュ!). Those resonate with me the most.

Did you originally decide to make Ouran a shojo manga from the start or did you take one route and it lead to another? This is because we felt like this could’ve taken the boy's love (BL) route as we can see some tropes of it in Ouran High School.

So, I did have the shojo genre in mind from the very beginning when I first thought about Ouran, and because of your question and looking back at it, I can see how people could see BL themes but it is more of a side theme and not the main theme. So for me and the shojo genre itself, I don’t think it necessarily has to do with a boy and girl getting together but I feel the genre also encompasses family relationships, friendships, and all other human interactions in between. With that, I never intended it to go that route but I feel there never was a thematic gap between the two either: shojo and BL.

Ouran has been considered by some as the first example of a "fujoshi comedy" genre—comedy series with largely male casts that cater to shippers. How do you feel about possibly having created a whole new genre that still exists and thrives today?

Well, now that I think about it...I guess so. *chuckles* I guess I did create it but I don’t have the self-realization, but when I created Ouran, you have the shojo manga prototypes to develop characters you see and I made a parody out of it so maybe that was a refreshing approach to it and I’m not too hung up on genre parameters so in the end, especially with Ouran, they are all very character-driven and I think the fans were able to accept this very character-driven story.

How was it decided to make Haruhi a female protagonist with boyish charms?

So, the prototype of Haruhi was actually a boy! Plus, when Ouran was first going to be published, it was going to be one-shot story anyway so we did it for fun like a party thing because of that, but instead of the intentional love story at the end—which was never on the radar at all—higher level editor said “why don’t you just gender swap?”. At that time there was that sort of thing going on and it was popular so I hesitated, wondering if I can create this kind of gender swap that is better than what is out there now which is how I came upon this “what if she doesn’t have a reason?”...what if she doesn’t need to dress up as a boy other than the fact that those are the clothing she wears and likes. *chuckles* So that is how it all came about with Haruhi.

When you’re drawing and designing bishounen characters including their personalities, what influences your creativity directly?

So, my influences come from anime, movies, TV, and theater so, with that, I can’t really put a finger on one specific source of influence. Although the club members are folded in from fans as the bishounen types, I actually take from places and things that are prototypes from TV or like Tamaki who is a combination of the prince prototype and also a typical character from Japanese drama but then you have Kyouya with the shounen side of things. So there is a mixture of things and it is not something like “Oh, they are bishounen”. They definitely come from different parts of the aforementioned media types. In a way, it is almost like a formation of a Power Ranger type of thing. *chuckles*

So for the character design of things, I think this is the first time I’ll be revealing this but Tamaki’s character design was inspired by Sailor Moon’s Uranus!! I was REALLY into Sailor Moon at the time. *chuckles*

Now that the Ouran manga has ended and the 20-year anniversary is approaching, do you think there’s a possibility of making a new Ouran Highschool Host Club anime that is true to the manga from beginning to end? We’re sure that fans new and old would love that.

Well, truthfully, I am in no position to produce any anime but I feel that if there is a will, there is a way. So if fans want another Ouran, they should really hit up the studio behind the anime and ask them to make another or continue the series! Voice their opinions! Of course, I would want to see it that way too but no one has approached me about it.

I guess we’ll have to start a petition to make this happen!

Yes, please! *chuckles*

Well, I believe that is our time with you. We really want to thank you so much for allowing us your precious time to interview you. We look forward to your future endeavors and hope you have a great show!

Thank you very much, again, for having me. It was great!

Bisco Hatori Panel

Urakata-manga-333x500 [Honey’s Anime Exclusive Interview] Bisco Hatori at Anime Expo 2019
Urakata-manga-333x500 [Honey’s Anime Exclusive Interview] Bisco Hatori at Anime Expo 2019

Well, that is it for the interview but there is plenty more to tell you about Hatori-san’s experience at AX 2019. VIZ hosted the panel and was giving out prizes throughout the panel as well. The main prize was a meet and greet tea party with Hatori-san! Other prizes during the panel included limited editions of manga and anime and autograph session tickets.

Other things that happened during the panel was VIZ bringing out their guest, Bisco Hatori, and when she came out, you better believe fans—including ourselves—were super excited when Hatori-san came out to join the other panelists. Shortly after, VIZ had their own set of questions for Hatori-san. Questions like, How Hatori-san like Anime Expo—which she heard American fans are intense (Perfect), to enjoying the artist alley and how local artists can have the joy of creating homages of their favorite characters from their favorite anime series.

VIZ also had folks from Shojo Beat showing off some of the art for Ouran Highschool Host Club. Shojo Beat is an imprint of VIZ Media bringing shojo manga content overseas for English speaking fans. As VIZ continues with their questions, Hatori-san answers with glee and excitement as fans paid close attention to her every word. Other questions were about revisiting other genres after Behind the Scenes!!. Hatori-san’s former editor was actually the one to introduce the idea of working on something different and after talking to a university girl who was really into zombies, she ended up convincing me to tackle the subject. She would love to go back to it as well since it is popular, especially in America which the crowd agreed with by cheering.

Further questions were about her current Shojo Beat series: Behind the Scenes!! and her older works like Millenium Snow coming overseas for fans. Questions were about Ouran being a parody of love and how her love for shojo manga is important to have around, what were her most important features she needed to include—Hatori-san wanted to show that no character is one-sided as they are more multi-faceted and as an example, Kyouya is the cool guy, but as the story progresses, we learn how intense he can be with his emotions.

When asked about what character traits she shares with the characters she created, she went on to say that Tamaki and her share more the intense side of their feelings for justice and with the twins, she’s been told she has a mischievous side like them, and with Kyouya, they share the darkness side. Lastly, Haruhi and Hatori-san share the absent-minded, whatever side of their personalities.

Honey’s Final Thoughts

The panel went on for about another 10 minutes with Hatori-san concluding the panel with a live drawing of Haruhi and her editor taking the helm with some questions about his experience in America and handling Hatori-san as well. The panel was a complete success and with it being Hatori-san’s first time in America, we sure hope she fell in love with us and that she will return to America with more updates on herself and her projects!

We can’t thank VIZ enough for bringing such an icon for us to experience and love all over again. We look forward to more from Bisco Hatori-san and VIZ Media as well. If you were unable to experience the joys of Anime Expo, make sure to plan your next trip there because you will have the time of your life! If you have any thoughts about this interview experience, please us know in the comments below. This was a blast to conduct for your all and we can’t wait until next time!

Ja ne!

Urakata-manga-333x500 [Honey’s Anime Exclusive Interview] Bisco Hatori at Anime Expo 2019

Editor in Chief

Author: Alfonso "Fonzy" Ortiz

I'm a Geek, Nerd, Writer, and lover of all video games, anime, science, technology and the internet. I previously worked for STFUandPlay.com, a contributing writer as the Japanese Corespondent at TheKoalition.com and founded a website called Transcend-Gaming.com! I currently live in Japan as Editor in Chief of Honey's Anime and its very talented writers! I'm down for anything! What do you want to do?

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